Thanks very much to the Author, David Meredith, for providing me with this novel to review honestly.
What if your soul could be uploaded onto a hard drive so you could live virtually in a digital world once you have died?
This is what happens to 16 year old Rose Johnson when she tragically dies of Leukaemia. Rose is used as an experiment just before she dies. Elysian Industries take a scan of her brain she is then ‘uploaded’ after she dies onto a digital hard drive, becoming one of the first people to be accepted into the world of Aaru.
Rose’s 14 year old sister Koren struggles to deal with Roses death. When she is invited to Elysian Industries with her family, they learn that the experiment was a success and they can now speak to Rose through a computer screen which shows a window into the world of Aaru.
I loved the world of Aaru and I can tell that the author was influenced a great deal by Japanese anime with some of the characters and the happy go lucky world. It was a really interesting story with a dark underlying plot. It was presented in a really realistic way which makes you think, as with the advances in technology it makes you start to wonder whether something like this could happen in the future!
I thought it was interesting how Rose’s life in Aaru seemed to mirror what was happening to Koren in the real world. Koren ends up becoming the face of Elysian Industries for their promotion of Aaru and starts a negative spiral into the celebrity world, being used and taken advantage of by the company and by her family, who are driven by the money they are receiving for taking part in the experiment on Rose.
Rose starts to question the meaning of her existence and learns that Aaru isn’t has light-hearted and real as what she first thought – something is missing.
The writing style for this book was very unusual, using quite elaborate vocabulary to describe the thoughts and actions of the 16 and 14 year old main protagonists, Rose and Koren. I’m not sure that the word “discombobulated” is used in modern day vocabulary to describe that someone was confused. It’s something I would normally see written in a historic victorian era novel.
Apart from the writing style, I really enjoyed this novel. I hope that the world of Aaru and Elysian Industries is explored in more detail as the series goes on. There were a lot of questions left unanswered and also Rose’s feeling that something just wasn’t quite ‘right’ with it all.
I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars – mainly because of the writing style, which stopped me from getting ‘lost’ in this book.